Some NFL tidbits & rumors from around the web. Enjoy:
Jason Taylor returned to the Dolphins on Wednesday, a hero who turned down the temptations of more money and grander promises from those villainous New England Patriots and New York Jets. Taylor accepted a bargain-rate contract to play for the Dolphins. He basically forced his way out of Washington this offseason and forfeited his $8.5 million salary in the process. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder flew to South Florida and met with Taylor at Joe's Stone Crab to try to convince the player to stay with the Redskins. It didn't work. Taylor turned down promises of a bigger contract offer from the Patriots and didn't even let the Jets or Packers get deep enough in conversations to talk money.
Progress in the Leon Washington negotiations? There seems to be a thaw after a tense couple of days of discussions between agent Alvin Keels and GM Mike Tannenbaum - at least that's the impression given by Keels on his Twitter page. "Positive talk with the Jets today," he tweeted. "Jets fans, everything will be fine. Myself and Mike T will put our heads together and continue to work." On Monday, Washington, frustrated by slow-moving negotiations, stopped attending voluntary workouts. Tomorrow is an open OTA, which means yours truly will be there to bring you the pageantry of an off-season practice in Florham Park.
Garrett Reid is behind bars. Again. Reid, eldest son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, was sent to Graterford Prison yesterday after he failed a drug test at a Hunting Park halfway house, said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman. The 26-year-old tested positive for narcotics when he returned to the Luzerne Treatment Center, on Luzerne Street near G, where he was serving part of a three-year probation sentence. "He had been on a pass away from the facility for a brief period of time," Ferman said. Reports that Reid had been involved in a physical altercation at the center were unconfirmed, she added. Reid's troubles began on Jan. 30, 2007, when his SUV rammed another car in Montgomery County, injuring the other driver. Police said Reid was high on heroin at the time. While serving time for the car crash, Reid smuggled 89 pills into prison in his rectum. He was sentenced last summer to a drug-treatment program for nonviolent offenders. Reid served five months in state prison and was then moved to the halfway house, where he's subject to frequent drug tests, Ferman said.
Middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, the centerpiece of a young Bucs defense in the midst of an overhaul, is key to the unit's success in 2009. But Ruud did not participate in either of the voluntary workouts this week -- the first of 14 such practices this offseason -- even as he spoke Wednesday during a radio interview about taking ownership of coordinator Jim Bates' new scheme. Given his contract status -- he is entering the final year of his rookie deal -- and because talks aimed at an extension are in their infancy, the reason for his nonparticipation is the subject of much speculation. Ruud was present Tuesday but absent Wednesday. Reached Wednesday, Ruud said "everything's fine" and gave no specific reason for his absence. The team indicated he simply took some personal time.
Dallas Cowboys legends Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith disagree on wide receiver Terrell Owens. While Aikman believes the Cowboys' decision to release Owens in March was best for the franchise, a sort of addition by subtraction, Smith said it was a mistake. Both were in Arlington on Tuesday as special guests at a news conference announcing Super Bowl XLV venues. "Addition by subtraction?" Smith said. "Put it this way: I don't know the nuances of the locker room and all those kind of things, but I just know that guy is a player, and there are ways that they could have worked together. "I don't know if he was a scapegoat or whatever it was, but I tell you what, he was a talent. He was a talent, and he didn't get in any trouble, didn't create any issues. Whenever he had the opportunity to make plays, he pretty much made them. He may have said some things at times that were kind of stupid, but we all do that. "Bottom line is, I'm not sure [if cutting Owens makes the Cowboys better]. Who do they have who is going to be that explosive? That's the question. Who do you have that's going to be that explosive? I don't see it." When told that Roy Williams was going to replace Owens as the No. 1 receiver, Smith said: "Like I said, who do you have that's going to be that explosive?"
Eagles coach Andy Reid said yesterday in an interview on the morning show on WIP-AM (610) that the team checked into the availability of Arizona wide receiver Anquan Boldin before the NFL draft, but found the price too high. Reid suggested the price might have been first-, third- and fifth-round draft picks. "That's a lot of picks, No. 1," Reid said. "And then you're going to pay the guy $10 million. So you get hit on both sides of it." Instead, the Eagles traded up two spots and selected Missouri receiver Jeremy Maclin in the first round. Reid said he thought Arizona probably wasn't willing to part with Boldin. If the Cardinals were, a deal would have been struck.
GM Mark Dominik said the team was not surprised Kellen Winslow missed the first voluntary workout, saying Winslow was taking care of a "personal matter." Dominik said Winslow's absence is nothing the team, or it's fans, should be overly concerned about. Tight end Kellen Winslow, the team's biggest off-season acquisition, did not attend the Bucs' first day or organized team activities. Former Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who visited the club Tuesday, spared no criticism for Winslow. "So when your team fires up OTA's and you're not here, I guess you're being misunderstood again, right?'' Sapp said. "Your past don't equal your future, but it will damn sure give me some reflection of what you might do. I'll leave it at that.''
The National Football League, in what could be a precursor to a lawsuit against Delaware Gov. Jack Markell over sports betting, has filed a legal brief against the measure with the state Supreme Court. The league, in papers filed by a Wilmington law firm, argues that skill "plays an impermissible" role in sports betting, disqualifying such games as a lottery determined mainly by chance. If the high court rules that sports betting as envisioned by Markell and the legislature is more skill than chance, the proposal could fail to pass constitutional muster. America's most prominent sports league has long opposed sports betting as a threat to "the integrity" of its games, a phrase repeated in papers made public Tuesday. Commissioner Roger Goodell had written Markell in March, expressing his displeasure with the gambit that Markell said he took to help balance the state's ailing budget. Markell responded that the league was being hypocritical because ESPN and other networks that broadcast games promote gambling on air and on Web sites. ESPN currently has an eight-year $8.8 billion contract with the NFL for the rights to "Monday Night Football."
NFL owners meeting next week in Florida are unlikely to vote on expanding the regular-season schedule despite reports earlier this year that the league might act on the topic during its May gathering. Several league sources said the owners would not vote on adding games to the regular season, and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson also said there would be no vote. Early last week, a league spokesman said there would be no vote, but after Commissioner Roger Goodell told SportsBusiness Journal on Wednesday that the issue of a vote was still up in the air, the spokesman deferred to Goodell's comment. As commissioner, Goodell is in charge of the meeting agenda. Many of the complexities of expanding from 16 games to either 17 or 18 games have become highly visible, with labor implications being among the key considerations. New NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has talked about the need to understand the physical harm players face in extending the regular season. Top agents agreed.
You may have seen the last of Brian Griese in a Tampa Bay uniform. The Bucs do not expect Griese to attend the first week of Organized Team Activities which begin Tuesday. The full-squad workouts are voluntary. But team officials and Griese's agent, Ralph Cindrich, say they do not expect the 34-year-old veteran to begin competing this week with four other quarterbacks on the Bucs roster -- Luke McCown, Byron Leftwich, Josh Freeman and Josh Johnson. The Bucs plan to take four quarterbacks to training camp and Griese is not expected to one of them. But Bucs still believe Griese could have trade value and may elect to hold onto his rights through the off-season in case another team suffers an injury at quarterback. The guess here is that the Bucs carry Griese on the roster for a couple months to see if there is another injury at QB around the league and release him before training camp, if not sooner.